Religious Beliefs and Morality

TheLightWithin

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I have been thinking about this concept a bit and ran across this article today--one of those news headlines on my home page.

What do others think? Does religious belief and/or belief in God lead to more moral behavior? Is it not linked at all?
Where do people without religion learn right from wrong, in your observations?
 
The bible says the law is written on our hearts.

Romans 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
 
In agreement with above, the Bible says the Law is written in our hearts, but that is the Law of the Book of Nature, which one can 'read' and comprehend by the contemplation of nature, and does not require Divine Revelation to be evident.

So in answer to your question, no, one does not need a belief in a deity to be a moral person.

The highest moral law, the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as thou would have them do unto you" is not a Revealed dictum in any religious tradition – rather it is implicit in all of them, which attests to its universality.

As I see it, the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, only the first three (in the Catholic numbering, traditions vary) are revealed by God – the remaining seven are cultural moral values common in the region at the time and not unique to the Jews:
1: I am the Lord thy God, Thou shalt have no other gods before me, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
2: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
3: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

4 Honour thy father and thy mother
5 Thou shalt not kill
6 Thou shalt not commit adultery
7 Thou shalt not steal
8 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
9 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife
10 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, wife, his slaves, or his animals, or anything of thy neighbour

So I would say 1-3 are Revealed Laws – one might well argue common sense (1: Believe in God, 2 and 3: Don't upset Him)
4-10 are moral codes broadly existing across the region in the time in question, and again, near universal as societies emerge – basically to protect the weak and curtail the strong. Here they receive divine endorsement, but God did not come up with them on the mountain.
 
So in answer to your question, no, one does not need a belief in a deity to be a moral person..
True..
..nevertheless, I would say that a moral person tends towards G-d and righteousness.
A person who despises G-d has some underlying reason that will mislead them.
 
Man are created in Elohim's image and are capable of morality without believing, but without a belief in a creator takes over the role of creator and morality is limited by self-interest and not sustainable. With a belief in a deity, the morality is a struggle between self/divine sources for morality. With Faith it is purely trusting and relying in the deity. That is why there can be inter-religion but not inter-faith as idolatry nullifies Faith.
 
The bible says the law is written on our hearts.

Romans 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
I would challenge that verse in saying the law written on our hearts has to agree with the law in Scripture otherwise it is a law from ourselves unto ourselves. There is no negotiating obedience to the Law especially the greater one as one's Salvation depends in it.
 
In agreement with above, the Bible says the Law is written in our hearts, but that is the Law of the Book of Nature, which one can 'read' and comprehend by the contemplation of nature, and does not require Divine Revelation to be evident.

So in answer to your question, no, one does not need a belief in a deity to be a moral person.

The highest moral law, the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as thou would have them do unto you" is not a Revealed dictum in any religious tradition – rather it is implicit in all of them, which attests to its universality.

As I see it, the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, only the first three (in the Catholic numbering, traditions vary) are revealed by God – the remaining seven are cultural moral values common in the region at the time and not unique to the Jews:
1: I am the Lord thy God, Thou shalt have no other gods before me, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
2: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
3: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

4 Honour thy father and thy mother
5 Thou shalt not kill
6 Thou shalt not commit adultery
7 Thou shalt not steal
8 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
9 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife
10 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, wife, his slaves, or his animals, or anything of thy neighbour

So I would say 1-3 are Revealed Laws – one might well argue common sense (1: Believe in God, 2 and 3: Don't upset Him)
4-10 are moral codes broadly existing across the region in the time in question, and again, near universal as societies emerge – basically to protect the weak and curtail the strong. Here they receive divine endorsement, but God did not come up with them on the mountain.
Sorry if this comes through as interrogative but what is the "book of nature"?

The law was not just given to the Jews but to all of Isar'el and Ieshua/Yahusha being first born of Isar'el means anyone who accept Him as Messiah are grafted into the Tree of Life and thus requires to be set-apart. That means: "If you love Me you will obey My Commandments"

In Scripture we see how "moral" people were before the law was written on their hearts. Take e.g. the judging of Solomon with the two woman and the baby. In today's life imagine someone agreeing to split a child in half as a valid argument. So the sowing of the Good Message through the last +-2000 years did change things a lot in civilization. Even in today's time Faithless morality from out ourselves will be very different in times of order and times of chaos...
 
I would challenge that verse in saying the law written on our hearts has to agree with the law in Scripture otherwise it is a law from ourselves unto ourselves. There is no negotiating obedience to the Law especially the greater one as one's Salvation depends in it.
I was responding to the previous thread as to why non believers could be moral or discern right from wrong. It is given to all men. The Law provided in scripture reveals our sinful nature and the impossibility of achieving salvation through our works. Imo. The standards set are impossible as no one could follow them to the letter these days. Which is why our Fathers in the faith were saved by their faith as their sins were plainly spelled out as history. It shows God's great love, mercy and grace for His people.
 
I was responding to the previous thread as to why non believers could be moral or discern right from wrong. It is given to all men. The Law provided in scripture reveals our sinful nature and the impossibility of achieving salvation through our works. Imo. The standards set are impossible as no one could follow them to the letter these days. Which is why our Fathers in the faith were saved by their faith as their sins were plainly spelled out as history. It shows God's great love, mercy and grace for His people.
I understand. And I agree with the moral that anyone is capable of love regardless of their belief, but to know true love one need to learn it from it's Creator. Regarding the false "doctrine" that salvation without works is possible The Word Himself is clear on that.



Matthew 7:21 (TS2009) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens.
Exodus 19:5 (TS2009) ‘And now, if you diligent
ly obey My voice, and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine –
 
I understand. And I agree with the moral that anyone is capable of love regardless of their belief, but to know true love one need to learn it from it's Creator. Regarding the false "doctrine" that salvation without works is possible The Word Himself is clear on that.



Matthew 7:21 (TS2009) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens.
Exodus 19:5 (TS2009) ‘And now, if you diligent
ly obey My voice, and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine –
Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Galatians 2:16 (ESV)
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified

Titus 3:5 (ESV)
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,.

All that being said... Works are a product of faith and a desire to do the will of the Father. Imo

Titus 2:14 (ESV)
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

James 2:17 (ESV)
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead

James 2:26 (ESV)
26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead..

Matthew 3:8 (ESV)
8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

I also believe that God dealt with Israel in the Old Covenant and we are being dealt with in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. It is legalism to bind us in the law which Jesus fulfilled on the cross. Imo
 
What do others think? Does religious belief and/or belief in God lead to more moral behavior? Is it not linked at all?
Where do people without religion learn right from wrong, in your observations?
A very good question. I did not consider myself to have a religious belief until my early fifties. As far as I can tell, my morality was unchanged by this. I cannot imagine adopting a faith that would compromise this.

I owe my morality to my upbringing in general and my grandparents in particular. They were kind, generous, hard-working, tolerant people, and had no involvement with any religious group.
 
I also believe that God dealt with Israel in the Old Covenant and we are being dealt with in the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. It is legalism to bind us in the law which Jesus fulfilled on the cross. Imo
..and that is where the problem arises, imo.
What is "the new covenant"? Are the ten commandments no longer applicable, for example?
 
..and that is where the problem arises, imo.
What is "the new covenant"? Are the ten commandments no longer applicable, for example?
Old Testament means Old Covenant New Testament means New Covenant. The scriptures I posted ARE the New Covenant. Of course the Ten Commandments are applicable.

1 John 5:2-4
English Standard Version
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
 
..and that is where the problem arises, imo.
For who?
What is "the new covenant"?
"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." (Colossians 3:11 KJV)
Read full chapter

Are the ten commandments no longer applicable, for example?
They are still very much applicable.
Christ is the very spirit of the law:

"But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(2 Corinthians 34: 15-18)
Read full chapter

The 'new covenant' involves the Incarnation and the death on the cross and the resurrection. The life and death and resurrection of Christ ARE the message -- not just the words of Jesus. I can say that light is both a particle and a wave. A person can say they do not understand, and it can be explained. But nobody can make that person entertain the explanation, if their religious book tells them not to, imo
 
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"He has enabled us to be ministers of a new covenant no longer depending on the written text, but on the Spirit. The written text kills, but the Spirit gives life"
(2 Corinthians 3:6)
 
Religion and morality are clearly not linked securely.

The treatment of natives by religious colonists thruout time pretty much proves that. The graves around the children's homes proves that. The number of pedophiles who were in positions of power and influence in religious institutions proves that.

In theory the books say they should be...in reality humans have issues...no matter what religion they are.

Can you be an evil religious leader? Proven.

Can you be an atheist humanitarian? Proven.

Cons and pedophiles and immoral folks will gladly use the religious institutions proclivity for forgiveness to abuse authority and people...and the problem is...the institutions rules...forgive and shuffle as the congregation suffers
 
He wants to start an argument about 'Jesus is not God'
Well, you can argue about that with somebody else..
I am more interested to know about "the new covenant",
and how that affects our understanding of right and wrong i.e. the law
 
Well, you can argue about that with somebody else..
I am more interested to know about "the new covenant",
and how that affects our understanding of right and wrong i.e. the law
Essentially, to me, it means Christ includes all mankind within the Spirit of true and eternal divine law, beyond tribal and national religious rituals of food and clothing and so on. It does not exclude them or require anyone to change or stop observing them of course -- the rituals and scriptures are often the shell of the nut -- but it gives the freedom not to have to think of them as the only way to know and be known by God (Spirit).

Spiritual law may sometimes seem to exactly contradict natural law, and Christ used parables to explain divine law in human terms. He was not concerned about conquest and politics. His message touches every individual soul from lowest to highest.

The subject is dealt with extensively in the New Testament, including Paul and John, of course -- and it pivots upon the spiritual redemption of incarnation, death on the cross, and resurrection of the Christ. There are libraries filled with books about it, and after two millennia it continues to be discussed all over the world, including here on IO. It cannot be dismissed with a few disparaging words by those who do not want to try to understand the depth and mystery, imo
 
Thank you @RJM your post was most informative. Obviously I have some knowledge of the parables, but you have taken this to another level, one that I had not previously considered. The matter of a 'Christian jurisprudence' is fascinating and would make a great thread.
 
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